These Were The Best-Selling U.S. Games In December

By Ishaan . January 13, 2011 . 4:10pm

The end-of-year holiday season always does wonders for the sales of games with a mainstream appeal, regardless of whether you’re looking at Japan or North America.


For example, while Call of Duty: Black Ops held on to its #1 spot in the U.S. for another month in December, games like Just Dance 2 and Donkey Kong Country Returns actually rose from #3 and #6 respectively in November to #2 and #5 in December, as games like Madden NFL 11 and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit dropped lower onto the top-ten chart.


While Just Dance 2 had Call of Duty: Black Ops blocking it from hitting the #1 spot, Donkey Kong was faced with the continued success of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and a new release in the form of World of WarCraft: Cataclysm.


Epic Mickey for the Wii appeared in December’s NPDs as well, at #6, which is quite the feat considering the competition it was up against. Ubisoft’s Michael Jackson: The Experience made an appearance, too, at #9. The game has sold over 2 million units across the Wii, DS and PSP since its November release.


Rank Title System Publisher
01. Call of Duty: Black Ops PS3, 360, PC, Wii DS Activision Blizzard
02. Just Dance 2 Wii Ubisoft
03. World of WarCraft: Cataclysm PC Activision Blizzard
04. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood PS3, 360 Ubisoft
05. Donkey Kong Country Returns Wii Nintendo
06. Epic Mickey Wii Disney
07. Madden NFL 11 PS3, 360, Wii, PSP, PS2 Electronic Arts
08. Michael Jackson: The Experience Wii, DS, PSP Ubisoft
09. NBA 2K11 PS3, 360, Wii, PSP, PS2 Take Two
10. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit PS3, 360, Wii, PC Nintendo


Note that these numbers only account for retail purchases, which might explain how Just Dance 2 beat out World of WarCraft: Cataclysm.

  • Looks like Epic Mickey would have had Epic sales if it were developed for multiple consoles. It is still baffling that in this day and age third party companies are still developing titles exclusively for a console.

    I think the sales also stand as an testament to the excellent experience that first person shooters provide to true gamers in this day and age as well as how titles with heavy multiplayer components excel. Perhaps other companies should incorporate multiplayer elements in their games. A shame that there is no console or handheld RPG on the chart.

    Hot Pursuit is an epic game, best racing game of 2010, hands down! We should play sometimes…

    • Epic Mickey was built around the Wii Remote. But now that PS Move is out, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it go multiplatform.

      • kylehyde

        That will depend on how Move is doing on moving the ps3 sales. But the lack of Move games on the top 10 and even the mention of it in the reports is kinda worriesome for the device (even dance central and kinect sports were mentioned as games that could have chance of appearing on the top 10 if it weren’t for the combined SKU’s)

        • Really? But games that embrace and have support for Move are selling well

          • kylehyde

            And who said that is for the move controller? As you said they support move controller, but that doesn’t mean that the people is playing for the controller at all, after all those game can be operated with the normal controller.

            and in other news even with a new controller PS3 sold almost the same than in the previous year.


            I think that is time for fire Marcus and get a new strategy.

          • But this is about a game not about a console sells, didnt heavy rain sell 1.5 mln, that has Move controls; MAG too, and even Killzone 3 which is most likely a mln seller

          • Heavy Rain sold 1,500,000 before it had Move controls. In fact, I have a Move (which I got for Time Crisis and Dead Space: Extraction, as I loves me some light gun games), and I played Heavy Rain with it for a grand total of 10 minutes before switching it back to Wireless Controls. Motion control is a nice OPTION, but most regular games, I will continue to use the Dual Shock 3 for.

            I will use the Move for a workout and for light gun games (of which I hope more are coming). Killzone 3, which I am not totally sure if I’m even getting, I will probably never play with the Move. No More Heroes, I will try the Move controls at least once, but will probably stick with Dualshock 3 for that too.

          • kylehyde

            Still it doesn’t contradict my point, even if the games that you mentioned support move (and by default support the regular controller which many people already have) that doesn’t mean that they sold becuase of the new controller, those games sold becuase they were highly anticipated for many people and most of their sales were during their first month, also Heavy Rain and MAG were released some months before the Move was released.

            About Killzone3. I think that you have forgotten about what happened with Killzone 2, Sony announced as their oportunity for have the throne and well the people in neogaf laughed during months.

          • But software sells peripherals, Heavy Rains/Mags/KZ3/and countless other titles are selling the Move; so putting Epic Mickey would ensure that more people get moves so that they could play Epic Mickey in full unadulterated HD glory.

          • kylehyde

            You can erase this

          • kylehyde

            The objective of the software is to sell peripherals? I what universe

            The objective of the software is to sell consoles.

            Also, what have in common the most succesful PS3?

            The answer is that many of them are in the M rated category or are published by Sony with the sole exception of little big planet i don’t see too much audience for epic mickey in the HD consoles.

          • I dont think that there is just no audience for the game. It is Mickey, a timeless character that spans and interests people of all ages. As it has done on the Nintendo console it would surely appeal to people who own the PS3, it could even fit into the same crowd that Ratchet & Clank Future series caters too.

            And on objectives, why wouldnt introducing updates for Move support for games, sell Moves? I find it that Im interested in getting Move because I can play, say Heavy Rain with it (that I already have) or that I can use it in LBP2 or that I wanna get Killzone 3 to use it, more games and more reasons to get it.

        • Code

          Just from first hand experience dealing with both items/sales, people who bought Move, I can’t really say there was one title that was consistently purchased — it was always a mixed bag what games would go with Move. Move’s been just a constant seller, it never managed to sell out here, but they are always moving opo lol’ I wouldn’t worry about them making the top 10, (it’s kind of a hard call though like you said, because Move games usually support PS3 controllers too) but I think Move has really yet to have a killer app, it’s a decent selection of alright games though. LittlebigPlanet 2 and Killszone 3 might draw some more attention though.

          The difference though was Kinect’s were constantly sold out, I think the biggest problem Kinects were facing when it came to software sales, was there wasn’t enough hardware to support the software interest. Dance Central did move a lot when there were Kinects to sell; but I think it was still softer then expected, and I think it got kind of smacked down by Just Dance 2 opo;

    • Ren

      Trist, I ask of you, stop with the true gamer thing. Seriously. Say casual, say hardcore, say mainstream, but don’t say true.

      • Code

        rar, Tiny-bunny-Ren speaks the truth (god I’m sorry) >w<' Listen to him Tsuna, and you might finally fine the path to success, or at least the ditch of acceptance opo;

        • Ren

          It’s not Tiny Bunny but EmoBunny, and he’s just my primal deity, not actually me. It’s quite strange to be called both tiny and bunny and by my real life name in the same sentece, even though I’m actually tiny. If you see this avatar somewhere in the net, you know you’ve found me.

          And I don’t think trying to change Trist will achieve anything, besides, he’s just too amuzing like that.

      • Tom_Phoenix

        Do NOT say “casual” or “hardcore”. The former is industry lingo for “retard”, the latter is an attempt by the industry to stroke the ego of core gamers. Either say core and non-core or core and expanded audience.

        Although, I agree, there is no such thing as a “true” gamer.

        • That’s Reggie-speak. I hate Reggie-speak. I will continue to use “hardcore” and “casual.”

      • I always thought the line between casual and hardcore was blurred. People have hundreds or thousands of hours on things like Bejeweled 2, *cringe* Farmville/CityVille, and the phenomenal Sims series. Some of those just arent true games, and well true gamer is an accurate description of a few of the games on this list. Mainstream as well, I cant really imagine putting Black Ops and Just Dance 2 in the same category.

  • malek86

    Quick correction: NFS wasn’t released on the Wii.

    Edit: oh wait, it actually was. Why didn’t I know that?

    • It’s a different game, but Hot Pursuit is on the Wii as well. :)

    • It just lacked autolog making it a well forgettable game that should really be forgotten. Without autolog I do not know how people can bear to play it. Autolog has revolutionized the racing genre.

  • kylehyde

    I just have to say Hooray to Retro for saving the DK franchise and make it succesful again and I hope that they get the job of reviving starfox or at least of return her girl power to Samus (seriously I don’t liked that Sakamoto transformed her in a stereotype of the perfect japanese woman so is time for burn her bra).

    • No offense to you, but I hate the phrase “Girl Power” so much. It’s like, whenever a man does something cool, like kick ass, it’s just power, you know, who cares. But whenever a girl does something similar, it’s cause she has far superior “grrrl power” and everyone makes a big deal out of it, especially girls. Samus was cool because she was cool, not because she had “girl power” and was sticking to the men.

      The whole ideaology of Girl power seems counterproductive because, from what I know, women are trying to be considered equals, right? But when you start going on about girl power, it just makes you seem…condescending? I can’t think of the word, but it just really irks me.

      • Well in Eternal Sonata, the female character does say “Now this is the power of man”…

        • Man as in Human.

          • Then why they have her say human. It’s only two letters off and it reeks of lazyness. Maybe she thinks that men are powerful and she is becoming as powerful as a man.

            Or maybe I should play the game first lol.

          • Because Humankind is always shortened to Mankind or Man. Now if the line was “Now this is the power of A man”, THEN it’d be different.

      • kylehyde

        Well man you have already offended me because in first place I respect and admire many women and the number is larger than the number of men that I admire. Also I’ve nerver heard before a women of being upset about the girl power expression and the first person that has expressed some disdain for is precisaly you a man. So if you sre trying to say that I’m only was condescending for the circunstances you wrong sir, because I always have admired the women, In fact the persons that I admire most are my sis and my mom.

        So if you are implying that I’m some kind of chauvinist, then sir you have already irked me

        • Cool story bro.

          I admit I find the term “girl power” a pandering in some form as it just sounds like a cute, dumbed down, preppy way of a female finding some deep hidden power in herself that has been surpressed by men.

          You do bring up the good point that I have this complaint as a man. But when you say Samus should have her “girl power” returned, I can’t help in that it makes her sound lame.

          Also what I do hate is when people make a fuss over a female doing something amazing in video games, not because of the feat she’s done but because it’s the fact a FEMALE has done it.

          • kylehyde

            I’ve never intended to make samus sounds lame I just pointed that I don’t liked the way that she was portrayed in other M thats all, I don’t why two words create too much fuss especially because in first place I’ve never intended offend anyone.

            And the reasons why I admire more women than men is for the feats that they have done, so don’t judge me if you don’t know me

          • There’s nothing wrong with admiring women, no one’s saying that. But it’s the fact that it’s quantified by how much “Girl Power” they have which makes it seem, at least to me, less credible. It’s like they have to say girl power to try and make themselves feel better about accomplishing something and lording it over men, which is just as bad as the overly-testosterone filled things that women have been trying to escape from.

            Like I said when I started, I wasn’t trying to attack you, I was just attacking the phrase.

          • “And the reasons why I admire more women than men is for the feats that they have done, so don’t judge me if you don’t know me”

            Easy, my pet hate wasn’t aimed at you so don’t take it personal. And I’m not saying for you to not use girl power, I just don’t like using it for reasons I stated above.

            No I wasn’t offended. I just wanted to give my two cents. unless you was talking to Mark lol.

        • That’s not what I meant in the slightest. When I said you, I didn’t mean you specifically, I meant it to be a sort of vague nonspecific statement. Please go back and read it again.

  • So sad…And thats the reason some companies won’t release their games in the West

    Call of Duty the worst FPS Series ever made on Nr.1
    I would understand if Battlefield would do this because its awesome but that crap on racist Box360?
    Sad world

  • Vino (Tim N)

    I actually want to get MJ: the Experience, but I’m waiting for the Kinect or PsMove versions.
    Seeing this chart though reminds me that they’re weren’t as many AAA titles released as the years before during the holiday season.

  • Epic Mickey sold 1.32 million last month. Thats almost 3 times what GT5 sold in Dec which was 560,000.

    • Well, as a PS3 owner, I had no interest, whatsoever, in GT5. One of the things that I’ve noticed about the PS3 is that it seems to have a pretty diverse group of consumers. Every 360 owner I know has Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Halo, and Gears of War. When it comes to the PS3, I can know 10 different people and they’ll all own completely different games from each other, with just a little crossover. Even the big touted Sony exclusives, not all of us have them, because they all appeal to different audiences.

      In some ways, I can see it as being very negative for Sony, as there is no one title that’ll sell millions and millions of copies, with the exception of God of War 3, as most PS3 owners have fairly diverse tastes. But from a consumer’s point of view, I like that the first party games are as different as they are. I can love Infamous, White Knight Chronicles, Warhawk, Siren, and Heavy Rain while not having any interest in MLB, MAG and/or GT5.

      • Code

        I have to really agree with this, it’s kind of what I was getting at with my post above, Move’s individual game sales I think are a little diluted by the fact there’s a whole lot more demographics checking it out, where as I think Kinect is netting the same/similar demographic as the Wii.

        But it is something even from my experience PS3 owners, tend to have more diversified collections opo; I figure a lot of this is 360 has it’s roots as a FPS console, and FPS games are games you play with friends, thus you have large groups of people who all own the same games, because people play together. PS3 I think generally is weaker in that respect, PS3 owners generally I think stem from PS2 owners, and after the huge library of games it had, your talking a whole lot of people with a whole lot of variety in taste.

        Not saying you can’t find 360 owners with different games, I mean I was able to fill my friends list to capacity with shmup fans on the 360 very easily — but yeah you look at your average libraries people own, and you’ll find more of the same games/same kind of games on 360 opo; On PS3 doing the same thing, it tends to be a real mixed bag, you still find some titles which tend to always pop up, but it’s never as consistent.

  • I’m….I’m just going to go into a corner and cry.

    At this rate I’ll just stick to my PS2 and it’s staggeringly huge third party inventory, no matter how old it is.

  • I didn’t know Nintendo published NFS, and on 360, PS3 and PC even.

  • Tom_Phoenix

    I think the most interesting thing about this chart is that there is not a single Kinect (or Move) title up there. Even Dance Central, which was expected to be a “killer app”, sold poorly compared to Just Dance 2 or even MJ: The Experience.

    Kinect seems increasingly similar to the Sega 32x, which also had tremendous sales over the holidays, but people were not purchasing many games for it. If this keeps up, it will face the same ultimate fate.

    • I thought in the notes released for the numbers that the Kinect exclusive titles like Dance Center and Kinect Sports would have made the top 10 for the month, if they didnt lump the multiplatform titles together. So I think people are actually are buying it, its just the way of reporting dilutes it out…

      “”On an SKU basis, games that are in the top 10 for the month that aren’t reflected in our title-level best-selling list include Kinect Sports from Microsoft, UDraw Studio with UDraw Tablet from THQ, and Dance Central from Microsoft.” NPD’s Anita Frazier

      • Tom_Phoenix

        Even so, considering how “hot” the Kinect is right now, the actual game sales aren’t really reflective of that.

        Plus, considering that Just Dance 2 is a Wii exclusive and MJ: The Experience primarily sold on the Wii (1.7 million out of 2 million), it is a moot point as far as Dance Central is concerned.

        • I thought this is the second month with Dance Central and the other Kinect games out though, We dont have numbers on previous month?

      • Console-wise Kinect did have top 10 sellers. But once you include PC into numbers that messes everything up. Also take in consideration that these numbers DO NOT include places like Amazon, etc.

        • What? Why isnt Amazon counted? Do you mean digital games bought via Amazon?

    • malek86

      I’ve already read this 32X-Kinect comparison somewhere else. Sounds a bit ridiculous to me. Kinect has already sold 8 millions, about 15% of the 360 userbase, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down too much for now. It also seems to be actually moving consoles. Compare to the 32X, it sold 600k (less than 4% of the Megadrives around) and then bam, dead. I guess nobody cared about it enough to get a MD with it either. What a failure. On the other hand, if Kinect can actually drive 360 sales, that’s probably what Microsoft was hoping for, rather than real sales of the peripheral itself. Same thing with Move and PS3, it seems Move had a good effect on PS3 sales in many european countries, and that’s good for Sony.

      Besides, we already have a good number of titles announced for Kinect, whereas the 32X pretty much only had the launch titles and that’s it. Microsoft also seems intent on supporting Kinect, unlike Sega with the 32X. And people knew the Saturn was around the corner anyway, while there doens’t seem to be anything on the horizon right now for the successor of the 360. Also, I guess some people were burned by the Mega CD.

      Overall, even if Kinect were to ultimately falter, a comparison with the 32X still seems pointless at best. The Mega CD might be a better comparison (coming out when the console was popular, possibly being a one trick pony – FMV games for the Mega CD, casual stuff for Kinect), but we’ll see if it can do better. At the very least, Kinect has better marketing than both.

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